Jul 232012
 

Cuisine: Italian
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking, Hotel
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Address: 280 Mission Blvd.  Santa Rosa, CA 95409 (707) 538-6000
Hours: Sun-Thur 11am til 9pm   * Fri-Sat 11am til 10pm
Links: Union Hotel Website * Union Hotel Restaurant On Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Dining Room at the Mission Blvd location is one big, open space.  There is a mix of booths around the perimeter of the room and tables in the center, which can be arranged to accommodate larger parties.  It is warm, inviting and casual.

There is a well-lit bar tucked back into its own area on the opposite side of the restaurant.  There are a couple of nice big TVs hanging behind the bar, in-line with the lighted shelving.

What we ordered:  One of my companions ordered the Roasted Garlic with Baked Brie, served with thick toasted sourdough.  An entire head of garlic was roasted skin-on, so that you could pop each little clove right out.

Several of us started with salad, I had the House Caesar.  The lettuce was very cold and crisp, the homemade dressing was slightly creamy and had some zip to it.

For my entree I ordered the Italian Sausage Lasagna.  It was wonderful, a true Italian comfort food.  It was a large serving, baked in a ramekin.  The noodles were layered with cheese, rich tomato sauce and Italian sausage.  It was baked until golden brown and literally bubbling over.  I was only able to eat half of this, it was very filling.

One of my companions ordered the Wild Mushroom Gnocchi, hand-made little pockets tossed in a creamy mushroom sauce with sauteed porcini and button mushrooms, swiss chard, and fresh thyme.  I did not try this but my companion loved it.

Another companion had the Linguini and Clams, served in a bowl with whole baby Manila clams cooked in a  broth of white wine, garlic and fresh tomato.

One of my companions went with Chicken Florentine; Grilled and sliced chicken breast, sautéed fresh baby spinach and red bell pepper tossed with penne pasta in a light garlic cream sauce.

Another companion ordered the Pomodoro Pasta with fresh tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella, garlic and olive oil.

Service: Our party of 14 had a reservation for a late dinner on a Saturday evening, our table was waiting for us when we arrived.  There were a handful of other tables that were occupied but other than that it was pretty quiet for a Saturday night.  Our food was prepared in a reasonable amount of time for how big our party was.  Everything was prepared as requested.
Overall Impression: Delicious, Italian comfort food.

Jul 152012
 

Cuisine: Chinese, Seafood
Restaurant Features:
Location: San Francisco, CA (Chinatown)
Address: 1300 Stockton Street  San Francisco, CA 94133  (415) 982-6020
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11a-12a *Closed Tues * Fri-Sat 11a-3a
Links: Google Map

Atmosphere: Located in Chinatown, Yuet Lee Chinese Seafood Restaurant is a somewhat small but brightly lit little place that is very well-known to locals.  The space is only big enough to accommodate maybe 25 people or so.

Menu: Items at Yuet Lee are broken down by meat.

Seafood selections include Boston Lobster, Broiled prawns, Roast Prawns, Crispy Garlic Prawns, Sauteed Crab,  Steamed Crab, Crab in Curry Sauce, Calms in Black Bean Sauce, Roast Squid, Sauteed Scallops, Kung Pao Prawns, Prawns with Cashew Nut, Sturgeon with Chinese Greens, Steamed Fliunder, Steamed Rock Cod, Steamed Sea Bass.

Beef dishes include Broiled Beef Tripe, Beef with Scrambled Egg, Beef in Black Bean Sauce, Satay Beef, Beef with Cashews, Beef with Ginger, Beef with Broccoli, Curry Beef, Beef Tenderloin.

Pork dishes include Peking Spareribs, Pork with Sweet and Sour Plum Sauce, Pork in Black Bean Sauce, Pork Satay, Sauteed Pork Liver, Deep Fried Pork Intestine, Pork with Cashew Nut, Barbeque Pork, Pork Spareribs with Black Bean Sauce.

Chicken Dishes include Roast Squab, Broiled Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Cashew Nut Chicken, Chicken in Oyster Sauce, Chicken with Black Bean Sauce, Chicken & Mushrooms, Mango Chicken, and Chicken with Asparagus.

Claypot Entrees include Salted Fish with Chicken and Bean cake, Catfish in Black Bean with roast pork, Abalone with Duck Feet, Oyster and Roast Pork with Ginger, Beef Stew, Sizzling Spareribs.
Price guide:  Entrees $8-15

What we ordered: My companions and I ordered three different dishes to share.  The first of which was the Cashew Nut Chicken.  Delicious, our favorite dish.  It had pieces of white meat chicken sauteed with mushrooms, green pepper, green onion, garlic, carrot, and tons of toasted cashews in a Chinese sauce

The server recommended the Peking Pork Spareribs, so we got that also. The flavor of the sauce was sweet and a little sour, but the ribs were very fatty and didn’t have much meat on them.  It was almost more trouble than it was worth to find anything worth eating.  I wouldn’t order these again.

We also ordered the Barbeque Pork Chow Mein, (which is what we call lomein in MN).  This dish was simple, yet good.  It consisted mostly of stir-fry noodles with a few bean sprouts, bok choy, carrots and pieces of barbeque pork tossed in.

Service: We were able to get a table right away during a late lunch on a Saturday afternoon and our server greeted us immediately.  The food was prepared in a reasonable amount of time.  I did notice that a mistake was made on our hand-written bill when our server added the items and we were charged an extra $10.  I caught the mistake before giving her my credit card and she corrected her error on the receipt and with an apology.
Overall Impression: This was our first time visiting Yuet Lee Chinese Seafood Restaurant and we thought it was pretty good.  Well-known in the San Francisco area.
Yuet Lee on Urbanspoon

Jul 142012
 

Cuisine: Seafood
Restaurant Features: Counter Service
Location: (Fisherman’s Wharf ) San Francisco, CA
Address: 2803 Taylor St San Francisco, CA 94133  (415) 474-8796
Links: The Crab Station on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Crab Station is located at #2 Fisherman’s Wharf, right next to Guardino’s.  Similarly, there is no place to sit in the near vicinity but you can find a place to sit across the street near the Fisherman’s Wharf sign.
Menu:   The Crab Station offers a variety of fried foods including Corn Dog, Crab Cakes, Fish N Chips, Calamari N Chips, Clam Strips & Chips, and Shrimp & Chips.

Sandwiches include Crab, Shrimp, and Seafood Mix, served on Sourdough.  Also offered are Crab or Seafood Salad, as well as Clam Chowder.

Seafood Cocktail items include Crab, Shrimp, Crab & Shrimp Combo, Prawn, Oyster, Squid, and 1/2 Lobster.
Price guide: Clam Chowder$4.75+ Fried Items $3.50-10  Seafood Cocktail $5-9
What we ordered: My companions and I split this little cup of Crab Cocktail, which had three big pieces of claw meat on top and a cup filled with sweet crab meat.  It was served with a tangy cocktail sauce and fresh lemon.  The crab was very good and tasted as expected; the sauce gave it a welcome little kick.

Service: Don’t be surprised if there is somewhat of a line depending on the time of day you visit, but service is quick and efficient.
Overall Impression: I liked the variety that The Crab Station offered on their menu considering that it is a food stand, and I would have eaten more if I had more time in the area.  As it is, there are many places to eat at Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39 and not enough time to try it all on a quick visit to San Francisco.
Crab Station at Fisherman's on Urbanspoon

Jul 142012
 

Cuisine: Seafood
Restaurant Features: Counter Service, Food Cart, Waterfront
Location: San Francisco, CA (Fisherman’s Wharf)
Address: 2801Taylor Street San Francisco, CA 94133
Links:  Guardino’s on Facebook

Atmosphere: Located on Fisherman’s Wharf, Guardino’s will be one of the very first sidewalk food stands that you will see as you approach the wharf.  The sign proclaims that it was founded in 1918 but I was unable to find any information, as Guardino’s is lacking a website.  There isn’t much to the stand itself and there is no room for sitting unless you walk across the street where there are a just a couple of community places to sit.
Menu:  Clam Chowder (with or without bread bowl), Crab & Shrimp Sandwiches, Calamari, Crab Cocktail, Shrimp Cocktail, Crab/Shrimp Cocktail
Price guide: Chowder $4+   Crab Sandwich $7
What we ordered: My companions and I ate a couple of orders of the famous clam chowder ($4).  It was very hot which was good on a cool morning, but it really wasn’t anything special.  It was a very basic chowder with a few chunks of potato and small bites of clam in a broth that was a little more thin than most chowders.  I tend to be somewhat picky when it comes to clam or seafood chowder because I use an awesome recipe and make a really fantastic chowder if I do say so myself, and Guardino’s couldn’t compare to what I am used to.  This one resembled canned clam chowder in both taste and appearance.  It was the only clam chowder that I tried at Fisherman’s Wharf so I can’t say how it compares to any of the many others who also serve clam chowder, but I was slightly disappointed.  I wish I would have ordered it in a bread bowl because it would have been more filling and the sourdough would have helped enhance the flavor of the soup..

Service: There wasn’t much of a line when we arrived at 9am and we were quickly able to order and receive our food.
Overall Impression: Guardino’s has been a main-stay at Fisherman’s Wharf for just a few years shy of a century.  While the clam chowder tends to be a very popular dish, next time I would order one of the other seafood items from Guardino’s.  If you do get the clam chowder, I would suggest getting it served in a bread bowl.
Guardinos on Urbanspoon

Jul 082012
 

Cuisine: American, Bakery
Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter Service, Shipping, Waterfront
Location: San Francisco, CA
Address: Fisherman’s Wharf ~ 160 Jefferson Street San Francisco, CA (415) 928-1849
Links: Boudin Sourdough Bakery  Website * Boudin Sourdough on Facebook * Map

Atmosphere: Inside the location at Fisherman’s Wharf you can order prepared items from either the Cafe or the Bakery, each of which has a separate line.

There are a couple of different areas where you can order, depending on what you want: Bakery or Cafe.

Menu: Breads offered at Boudin include the Wolrd Famous Sourdough Bread, Sculpted Breads, Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Kalamata Olive, Jalapeno Cheddar, Walnut, Ciabatta, Pain Au Levaine, Corn Rye, Wheat, and Panettone.

Breakfast items include Muffins, Toast with Jam, Waffles, and Bagels.

Salads offered at Boudin include Mediterranean Salad, Thai Citrus Chicken, Caesar, Caesar with Chicken, Spring Salad, and Waldorf Salad.

Soups include the famous Clam Chowder as well as Tomato in a Breadbowl, Beef Chili, Vegetarian Chili, Chicken Pot Pie, and Butternut Squash.

Hot Sandwiches include Grilled Cheese, BLT, and Chicken Club.  Classics like California Veggie, Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, Bavarian Ham, Turkey, Turkey Cranberry, and Roast Beef are also offered, or you can order one of the Artisan Sandwiches such as the Chicken Caesar Club, Chicken Mediterranean, Waldorf Stack, Chicken with Chipotle Aioli, Turkey Avocado, Chicken Pesto, Classic Italian, and Pesto Roast Beef.

Desserts include Cookies (chocolate, oatmeal and peanut butter), Brownies, Apple Bars, Lemon Bars, and Raspberry Bars.
Price guide: Salads $6-9  Sandwiches $7-8
What we ordered: I ordered a mini loaf of the Dutch Crunch. This was my first time at Bourdin and I basically had nothing to reference this bread to, but I really wasn’t expecting the sweetness of this one.  The “crunch” comes from the wash of rice flour, butter, sugar and yeast that is applied to the dough just before baking.

The Waffle is big and thick, topped with fresh whipped cream and berries.  The chili and clam chowder are served in a bread bowl.

Service:  There were only about 6-8 people ahead of me in the bakery line and it moved quickly.  One detail to note about the Fisherman’s Wharf location is that there is no restroom, customers must use the public bathroom outside on the wharf.
Overall Impression: Bourdin Sourdough Bakery is a must-try for bread lovers visiting the San Francisco area and a great place to stop for a sandwich, soup or salad during lunch.
Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon